DIR – Floortime
The Greenspan Floortime Approach is a system developed by the late Dr. Stanley Greenspan. Floortime meets children where they are and builds upon their strengths and abilities through creating a warm relationship and interacting. It challenges them to go further and to develop who they are rather than what their diagnosis says.
In Floortime, you use this time with your child to excite her interests, draw her to connect to you, and challenge her to be creative, curious, and spontaneous—all of which move her forward intellectually and emotionally. (As children get older, Floortime essentially morphs into an exciting, back-and-forth time of exploring the child’s ideas.)
For any age child, you do three things:
- Follow your child’s lead, i.e. enter the child’s world and join in their emotional flow;
- Challenge her to be creative and spontaneous; and
- Expand the action and interaction to include all or most of her senses and motor skills as well as different emotions.
As you do all this, while staying within her focus, you are helping her practice basic thinking skills: engagement, interaction, symbolic thinking and logical thinking. To master these skills requires using all these senses, emotions, and motor skills, as The Greenspan Floortime Approach™ explains.
Dr. Greenspan developed Floortime for families to enable them to support their child’s development. Floortime can be done at home or at a clinic, but it’s useful, especially at the beginning, to have some guidance from a comprehensive source.
Ideally, Floortime takes place in a calm environment. This can be at home or in a professional setting. Formal treatment sessions range from two to five hours a day. They include training for parents and caregivers as well as interaction with the child. Therapists encourage families to use Floortime principals in their daily lives.
Floortime sessions emphasize back-and-forth play interactions. This establishes the foundation for shared attention, engagement and problem solving. Parents and therapists help the child maintain focus to sharpen interactions and abstract, logical thinking.
For example, if the child is tapping a toy truck, the parent might tap a toy car in the same way. To encourage interaction, the parent might then put the car in front of the child’s truck or add language to the game.
As children mature, therapists and parents tailor the strategies to match a child’s developing interests and higher levels of interaction. For example, instead of playing with toy trucks, parents can engage with model airplanes or even ideas and academic fields of special interest to their child.